“Consider Yourselves”

Everyday, I am overwhelmed by the weight of God’s grace in light of my utter depravity. Without Christ’s blood covering my sin and without his perfect atonement on the cross, I would be stuck trying to earn my worth and salvation, falling short every time. All of this I am well aware of. But there is a distorted belief permeating many churches today that must be corrected in order for Christ to receive the full reward of his suffering.

You see, we are “sinners saved by grace.” Yes…but this phrase communicates more than the wonderful fact that grace saves. It also implies an identity that actually no longer applies to people once they believe in Jesus. Because when people believe in Jesus, their old identity: “sinner” is replaced with a new identity: “saint”.

Let’s explore this a bit. In Romans 5, it explains how the first Adam (Eve’s husband) disobeyed God and brought condemnation upon the entire human race. It then explains how the second Adam (Jesus Christ) obeyed God by living the perfect sinless life and brought justification and salvation to all mankind. “For as by the one man’s disobedience, the many were made sinners, but by the one man’s obedience, the many were made righteous” (Romans 5:19).

So what was our primary identity before Christ’s death? Sinners. And after? Righteous. Completely holy and blameless before him. Saints.

It’s important to understand this fact: Christ’s death and resurrection carry the power to change our sinful identity and his Spirit working in us carries the power to change our sinful activity. Our inner rebellious tendencies and our outward rebellious actions can change. Our wayward nature and our wayward ways can change.

Romans 6 explains how our baptism into Jesus literally fuses us with him in his death and resurrection, which means that in every way that sin no longer has power over Christ, sin no longer has power over us. “If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self has been crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that you may no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin” (Romans 6:5-7).

Whoa! Do we get this? Jesus died so that the power of sin would no longer entangle us in any way. So that we would walk in the same glory and “newness of life” (v. 4) that Christ did in the resurrection. So that sin would disappear from mankind and we would be “holy as He is holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

I didn’t know this growing up. I often walked out of church feeling more guilty and sinful than when I walked in. A sinner saved by grace, emphasis on the sinner…

Resonate with anyone? I’ve discovered that the trick in gaining a truer perception of your identity in Christ is to take inventory of how you “consider yourself.” Do you consider yourself a sinner who will never be able to escape that same sin you’ve been struggling with for years? Or do you consider yourself a son of God who is holy before him, being sanctified daily?

Scripture talks a lot about how to “consider yourself:”

  • “You must also consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).
  • “From now on, therefore, we consider no one according to the flesh…For our sake he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:16, 21).

Notice that in these passages, we are NOT to consider ourselves as those who are sinful or who live in the flesh. On the other hand, we ARE to consider ourselves as those who are living in alignment with God and who embody his righteousness. That’s life-changing stuff. Especially because we become who we think we are.

Get this: Christ died so that you could be free from seeing yourself in a condemning negative light. Part of the glory God receives is from you being able to look at how messed up you are and yet knowing that Christ’s perfection covers you. After all, God looks at you and sees Jesus. Do you look at you and see Jesus (or at least someone being changed more and more into his image everyday?)

So when we do not “consider ourselves” correctly, it’s almost as if Christ’s death and resurrection meant nothing. If I do not believe and embody the truth that my old self has been crucified with him and that I am no longer enslaved to sin, then it’s almost as if the cross was ineffective. So seeing yourself as righteous before him is not prideful, but rather honoring to God because it’s what he died for!

So am I a sinner saved by grace? Yes. But an even truer statement would be: I am a saint made righteous through the blood of Christ who is being transformed daily into his likeness through his victory over sin.

How will you “consider yourself” today?

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